School Zero Tolerance Policies Are Just Intolerable
Two high school students in Massachusetts, 16 year-old Tito Velez and 16 year-old Jamie Peirera, have found themselves expelled from school over a picture they posted on Facebook. No, the photo in question did not involve nudity or anything sexual. No, they were not threatening anyone nor were there any direct messages aimed at anyone. What did they do? They posed for a photo…with guns. Airsoft guns to be exact.
For those of you who may not know, Airsoft guns are essentially toys. They fire plastic pellets and are non-lethal. My son has had a dozen of the things and has yet to kill anyone. The photo in question was taken at the home of one of the teens. The pair from Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School in Taunton are booted from school for up to ten days for ‘causing a significant disruption’ at the school. They accomplished this ‘disruption’ by apparently discussing the photo with friends.
School Superintendent Richard Gross even called in the cops to talk with the teens. The high school juniors were not allowed to call their parents before being questioned. When interviewed by WMUR, Gross told the station that it had nothing to do with free speech. He did, however, feel that it had everything to do with school shootings, as reported by WMUR:
“They are juniors, they should have known better. You have Newtown; you have what just recently happened. This happened right on the heels of what happened in the Pacific Northwest."
So what do we have here? More of the knee-jerk, overzealous, reactionary behavior from a government entity we’ve all come to expect these days. It’s past time to put an end to it. These kids did absolutely nothing wrong. There’s no insinuation of a threat, not even an accusation of it from this so-called administrator. You can label just about anything a ‘disruption’. This photo was taken off school property, so is it really any of their business?
Believe it or not, similar nonsense has even happened right here in the Lone Star State. Back in 2010, a Houston girl was labeled a ‘terrorist’ and suspended from Bleyl Middle School because she was pretending to shoot a gun…a finger gun. You remember those dreaded finger guns we all made with our hands as a child, don’t you? Oh, the carnage they caused! A similar suspension occurred earlier this year at Cottonwood Creek Elementary in Hutto near Round Rock. A pair of third graders was given ‘in-school suspension’ for a day and a half for pointing finger guns at each other. It's just another case of school administration run amok.
Yes, school shootings are tragic. The loss of such young lives ought not be taken lightly. However, one reason these school shootings have occurred at all is zero tolerance. Schools are branded as ‘gun free zones’. What they are, in fact, are soft targets. The people who engage in that kind of heinous behavior are cowards. And cowards generally don’t attack those who can adequately defend themselves. Bad people have always been with us and always will be. The only thing that is going to stop a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun.
There’s a huge difference between kids playing ‘cops and robbers’ or ‘war’ or ‘cowboys and Indians’ and some mental case walking into and shooting up a school. And it’s time these intellectual giants in charge were educated as to the difference. If they are really so afraid of a child’s finger gun, perhaps they should find a new line of work.